Autism Signs & Symptoms in Teens

The years before and during puberty can be a challenging time for anyone, and youth with ASD are at particular risk for developing anxiety and depression around this time. These symptoms are common, especially as children get older. Some signs of depression might include include irritability, increased desire to be alone, no longer enjoying things that were previously enjoyable, changes in eating or sleeping patterns, or other significant changes in behavior. Symptoms of anxiety may include increased avoidance of certain situations, inflexibility, physical signs (e.g., stomach aches, headaches), increased focus on certain topics or fears, increase in repetitive behaviors, or even emotional reactions (tantrums, aggression). Various behavioral treatments (therapy) can be very successful in improving symptoms related to anxiety and depression. Often, other symptoms related to ASD, including social interaction, also seem to improve when anxiety and depression improve.